PORTLAND - Four years into his battle with Parkinson’s disease, former Trail Blazer great Brian Grant continues his crusade to raise awareness and money.
Even though public events make him very nervous.
“When I have anxiety I sweat and I get nervous and I get shortness of breath,” admits Grant.
It’s hard to imagine anything rattling the 6 foot nine Grant who seemed the picture of composure during 12 seasons in the NBA.
“There was some anxiety with games,” he remembered “and it got worse after the diagnosis.”
Now the father of six is determined not to let his increasing tremors get in the way of his goal.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams became part of the mission Wednesday as a visibly nervous Grant sat and watched in City Council Chambers.
“I do hereby declare Parkinson’s Awareness weekend July 14th through 16th in the City of Portland,” said the Mayor reading from a proclamation.
“The resources that I have, I want to make sure these things are available to everyone,” Grant said.
A golf tournament and Rose Garden gala are planned as part of the “Shake It ‘til We Make It” fundraising effort. The Paws for the Cause dog walk will also happen that weekend.
Efforts by Grant’s Foundation have raised $800,000 in the past two years. His doctor says Grant's advocacy is key in raising research money.
“I think we’re going to find ways to stop the process that causes cells in the brain to die,” said Dr. Jay Nutt who is with the OHSU Parkinson’s Center.
Nutt says 3,000 Oregonians live with Parkinson’s. Grant was just 36 when he got the diagnosis which forced him to turn anxiety into action and find new teammates,
“Michael J Fox and Mohammed Ali and the person who doesn’t have a voice, they are all my inspiration.”